But….. It Really Hurts

baby 4

Last week, while doing some repair work at home, I accidentally hit my thumb with a hammer. I’m a fairly large man, and I’ve always prided myself on being pretty tough, but I’ll say this – it really hurt man. My wife in the next room, heard my cry of surprise and pain, and came rushing in to see what all the ruckus was about. After assessing the situation, checking my thumb, seeing I was okay, and realizing my injury was minor, she grinned and said, “Does mommy’s little guy need me to kiss, and make his boo boo all better?”

I replied, “Honey, there’s no need to be sarcastic.”  She then looked at me with one of those looks that wives will often give their husbands. I think they practice them in front of a mirror, so they can get it just right. Her expression, demeanor, and the arms folded in front of her chest, seemed to be saying, “Patrick Dykie. You had me scared to death. For all the noise you were making, I thought you might have been the unfortunate victim of a horrifying, and debilitating chainsaw accident. I was this…..  close to checking on your life insurance policy, calling Goodwill to pick up all your clothes, and joining a widow’s support group.” All I could think to say was,

“But it really hurt!”

This incident, got me thinking about the differences between men and women when it comes to our ability to tolerate extreme pain. I did some research on the internet, and read about studies which have tried to determine which sex can tolerate more pain. I found out, the subject is more complicated than I thought, and many of the results from research studies are inconclusive. I also learned of the difference between pain thresholds, and pain tolerance. Basically the first is at what level or threshold do you start complaining about your pain, and the second is the total amount you can actually stand without suffering physical and psychological damage.

A study by researchers at Stanford University in 2012, found that women feel pain more intensely, and also experience more pain in general during their lifetimes. I can agree with that conclusion. My wife’s been married to me for over twenty-three years. I hate to say it, but it doesn’t get more painful than that! I was also present at the birth of my youngest son. After twelve long hours in labor, and suffering what can only be described as unbelievable pain; my wife gave birth, to what at first, appeared to be an over-sized bowling ball. It’s painful, just thinking about it. The more I’ve researched the subject, I’ve become convinced that men do have fairly high pain thresholds, and can tolerate large doses of pain. I think we just complain about it a lot more.

I will admit that my wife handles pain a lot better than me. She recently slipped on ice and hurt her foot. After a few days, one or two trips to the gym, a long walk, and three days at work, she got her foot checked out and learned it had been broken. When I said, Honey, hasn’t your foot been hurting you,” she simply said, “What good does complaining do?” I can answer that. It feels pretty darn good – at least for me. My wife has always faced any type of pain better than me. She’ll get a cramp in her leg that could cripple a horse, and she limps around the house without a word. I get the same type of cramp, and I’m messed up for hours, ready to hit the emergency room, and eating ibuprofen likes its candy. If she gets a piece of wood in her finger, she’ll put on her glasses, and spend fifteen minutes stoically and meticulously digging it out of her flesh with a long, sharp, sewing needle. I get a similar piece of wood in my finger, and I’m hysterically running through the house yelling, “Tweezers, tweezers.”

For years, I took kickboxing classes with a master of the martial arts. We were taught to either ignore pain or train our bodies to accept it. We did a drill in which we raised our hands over our heads, and then had one of our classmates punch us in our unprotected midsection. I was told that the human body has a fight or flight mechanism. When pain is introduced to our body’s pain receptors, its natural reaction is to instinctively pull back and possibly run from the unwanted sensation. The purpose of the drill, was to slowly acclimate our bodies to pain. Over time, we would build up a higher pain threshold, and be able to not flinch, at even the highest levels of excruciating pain. After a year of suffering through many hours of this drill, along with thousands of punches, multiple bruises, and unbearable pain, I can say this. It didn’t work!

Before, I move on to my next simple observation, I have a question. Have any of you ever been in a room full of men and women, when one of the guys spills something hot on himself? What happens when he starts making a fuss, and whining to everyone about how much it hurts? If you guessed that multiple women rush to his aid, in the hope of relieving his pain, and possibly providing comfort, you’d be wrong. Most likely, you’ll witness complete silence among the women, knowing looks to each other, and slight nods of their heads. If you could read all their minds at that exact moment, you’d probably hear the same thing – “What a big baby.”

I was wondering about something. Do women ever get back aches? It seems only men wander around like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, holding their lower spine, acting pitiful, and complaining? I should know. I’ve been doing it all day since I lifted that bag of sugar the wrong way, early this morning. I know what you’re thinking ladies – but it really hurts.

16 Replies to “But….. It Really Hurts”

  1. Interesting, Patrick. I think that tolerance to pain is very individual. I am one of four girls and I tolerate pain very well and my sisters don’t tolerate it at all. One of my assistance at work seems to experience a lot of pain. It is not only men; it is soft living maybe [smile].

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you about pain tolerance being an individual thing. I believe though that women are more stoic and accepting of the inevitability of pain. Men on the other hand, may have high tolerances, but you wouldn’t know it by all the complaining.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Discussions about pain seem to confirm that most women deal with it better than most men. I suspect that it comes down to expectations. Women expect pain to be– you know, painful. While men seem to be totally surprised that pain hurts. I dunno. Just an observation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree 100% with you. Like most men, I look at pain as a terrible burden, hate it. and complain about it. Women like my wife, accept it as a normal part of life, and don’t complain. They just deal with it in their own way. Thanks. Great comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You wife experienced the worst pain ever – giving birth! So you are right in that women have a higher threshold for pain but it would be wrong to cut across like that…remember the character than plays “Murtok” in reprised roles, now that guy in that role has a huge threshold for pain! So, do not feel bad and your wife sounded so funny soothing you ha ha..sorry I should not laugh but it was as if she was telling a small toddler. Love your sense of humor as always! Take care of that thumb! Ice it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much I always appreciate your astute comments. When I was a kid; it seemed that boys would always get a small injury, and are moms would get out a bandage, and then kiss are boo boo, This never seemed to be the case with young ladies. Maybe guys are just a little bit needier. My thumb is fine. Thanks for asking, and have a great day.


  4. I hope your pain has subsided now and all is well with you, Patrick! This was hysterical! My husband and I laughed out loud. I do agree with the fact that women do have a lot of pain just in child birth and subsequent problems relating to having children. There are some men out there e.g. hockey players who play with broken bones, punctured lungs and gaping cuts all over their body without complaining. They continue to play. Crazy!
    Thanks for the laughs! You do have a wonderful sense of humor. Your wife must appreciate the way you look at life with humor. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the visit and comment. It’s nice to know that your family has a great sense of humor, and gets my writing, which is…… let’s just say a little unusual. Being married to me; my wife understands that every day is often an adventure. Thanks again, and have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As always, your posts make me laugh. I remember injuring my arm. No pain. Every time I flexed my wrist though, I fainted. The doctor said my body knew I was in pain even if my brain didn’t. But because it didn’t hurt, I kept flexing the wrist. ‘Watch what happens!’ (flex wrist, pass out). Then it would be ‘isn’t that weird? It doesn’t hurt!’ and pass out. Finally the doctor yelled ‘then quit doing it!’


  6. I don’t even think to complain when my back hurts. When my husband sees me walking like a rooster he will ask about it and most times, I have to think a minute before remembering, “Oh yea. I meant to take some ibuprofen and got sidetracked.” My dad acted like he was dying if he had a little problem. He always had a “favorite” medicine he took. For a while it might be anacin, then 4-Way Cold Tablets, then shift to an entirely different complaint and suck on Maloxx all day. He and his family compared their complaints and medicines like it was a competition. I decided then not to ever bore people with my hinting. He acted like such a crybaby for a man who claimed to be so tough!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the visit, and a great comment. Many of us have similar stories. My mom gave birth to, and raised ten children. I never heard her complain once about pain. My dad was a good man, but he liked to complain. it must be a man thing. Thanks again, and take care.


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